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COLORECTAL CANCER: Genomic Profiling for KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, Microsatellite Instability, and Mismatch Repair Deficiency Among Patients With Metastatic Colon Cancer


Dec. 23, 2019


JCO Precision Oncology, December 6, 2019

In a retrospective health record review in the USA, 50-60% of patients with metastatic disease did not undergo standard of care molecular testing (RAS, BRAF & MSI), including some who went on to receive cetuximab.


Genomic testing is recognized in national guidelines as essential to guide appropriate therapy selection in metastatic colorectal cancer. Previous studies report adherence to testing guidelines is suboptimal, but current testing rates have not been assessed. This study reports testing rates in metastatic colon cancer (mCC) for guideline-recommended biomarkers in a US-based population.


A retrospective review of data extracted from electronic medical records was performed to identify patients with pathologically confirmed mCC and describe patterns of guideline-aligned biomarker testing. Data were extracted from the electronic health records of 1,497 patients treated at 23 practices across the United States. Both community and academic centers were represented.


A total of 1,497 patients with mCC diagnosed between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 were identified. Guideline-aligned biomarker testing rates for RAS, BRAF, and microsatellite instability/mismatch repair deficiency over this study period were 41%, 43%, and 51%, respectively. Patients were more likely to have guideline-aligned testing for RAS and BRAF if they were treated at an academic center, were diagnosed with de novo metastatic disease, and were female. In addition, patients < 65 years of age were more likely to have guideline-aligned RAS testing. Of the 177 patients (12% of cohort) who received anti–epidermal growth factor receptor therapy, only 50 (28%) had complete guideline-aligned biomarker testing.


Despite guideline recommendations and significant therapeutic implications, overall biomarker testing rates in mCC remain suboptimal. Adherence to guideline-recommended biomarker testing would potentially reduce exposure to expensive and ineffective therapies, resulting in improved patient outcomes.